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Neutering may not be the first concern when you get a new cat or dog, and yet it is something we should all be taking into consideration. If you acquire your pet from a rescue centre then it will almost certainly be neutered already and if it isn't then there will be a very good reason as to why not. However if you acquire a pet from a breeder then it will not be neutered because many prospective owners want to show their pets or breed off them one day, which would be ruled out if the animal was already neutered. Whether you are getting an un-spayed pet from a rescue centre, a breeder or a former owner it is essential to seriously consider having it spayed. So why do rescue centres neuter cats and dogs and why should you as an owner? Well there are various benefits to neutering, some of which are listed below.
The over-population of dogs and cats is clear to see when you look on the various pet rescue websites such as the RSPCA, dogs trust and indeed our own Pets4homes. There are thousands upon thousands of unwanted animals needing homes, and that isn't including the puppies and kittens up for sale from breeders. The reason for this is solely down to irresponsible pet ownership, where people buy animals without considering the life-long responsibility it entails. In addition to this, even the most attentive of owners can be caught out by unexpected pregnancies, particularly with cats. If your cat is un-neutered and allowed out to wander it will undoubtedly come home one day either pregnant or having impregnated another cat. If you own a tom-cat then you will probably never know how many kittens he has fathered! It is completely unfair to keep your pet under lock and key, and so the right thing to do is have the cat neutered at the soonest possible opportunity. The problem of unexpected pregnancies in dogs is smaller because dogs are not usually able to wander on their own, however there is always the possibility of it occurring on a walk. If you do find yourself with a pregnant animal you will then have to shell out money for vets bills and have to find the puppies or kittens loving homes.
There are also various health benefits associated with neutering, including a huge reduction in the chance of both female dogs and cats developing breast cancer or urine infections, and for males it eliminates the chance of testicular cancer.
Spaying has been shown to reduce or eliminate certain unpleasant behaviours in dogs and cats. Male animals often suffer from frustration and aggression brought on by the hormones and instincts related to breeding. A neutered male will normally stop behaviour such as humping, marking territory and even biting. An advantage for female animals is that their heat cycles will stop which means no mess to clean up or having to avoid male dogs through the duration. Having cats neutered has also been proven to reduce straying in search of a mate.
As with any operation there are certain risks involved, which can be a huge concern for some pet owners. It is understandable that you will be worried about your pet and reluctant to risk their life for something that you may not believe is necessary. However taking the decision to have your pet neutered the right one, however hard. Neutering is a daily procedure carried out by vets and therefore one of the safest. It is very rare for complications to arise from surgery, and only usually happens if the animal is old or suffering from a pre-existing condition.
The cost of neutering will vary with the vet you choose and the size and type of the animal. The price varies between £40 and £100. If you feel that this is too far for you to stretch then it is worth ringing round local animal charities and rescue centres who sometimes offer reduced rates.
The risks associated with surgery increase with age, although if your animal is elderly then there is a greatly reduced risk of it breeding anyway. Age is not a factor to be concerned about below six years and if your pet is older than that then have a discussion with your vet. The ideal time to neuter a puppy or kitten is between four and six months old. If you think your pet is still old enough to conceive then you need to discuss neutering with your vet. The vet will only suggest neutering if it is safe and he believes that the benefits will out-weigh the risks. By having your pet neutered you will be making the best decision for the world as a whole and helping to combat the problem of pet-overpopulation in this country.
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